[Note: I posted this on 1 March in a previous blog incarnation]
For this morning’s Saturday bike ride, I took the Guadalupe River trail, all the way from its beginning at Grant St.
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to the San José Airport, 11.6 miles round trip from my house. Leaving aside the questionable bike-friendliness of the supposed bike route along Bird Ave., it’s a favorite ride of mine. Getting into downtown San José this way seems almost magical, as if there are parallel worlds that interpenetrate. I wanted to see the trees at the historic orchard in bloom, but I was about a week of sunny days too early.
Not for the first time as I rode, I wondered why urban streams in the West are so unloved. Winter rains have brought the river up to a respectable volume, but the trash hanging from every scrubby tree bears witness to the floods that prompted the mammoth engineering project that the park is built around. Why is our everyday experience with urban waterways one of neglect? Not only trash lines our streams, but homeless encampments, too: people who are forgotten and thrown away.
But these interpenetrating, parallel worlds are a treasure, not trash. I saw a Canada gander standing guard over his brooding mate, haughtily ignoring the metallic clamor of 880 just above them. Imagine going to the airport by bicycle!